Impact on Communities following Cuts to Rural Bus Services
Local MP, Paul Howell, Member of Parliament for Sedgefield, has had a strong response to the recent survey sent out to constituents in the TS29 postcode of the Trimdons which includes, Trimdon Colliery, Trimdon Grange, Trimdon Station and Trimdon Village.
Paul said: “Myself and local councillors have been contacted by residents of the Trimdons who are very concerned about the 2 April removal of the 57/57A Durham to Hartlepool route. This route is a vital service for residents of the Trimdons to access education, employment, medical appointments, retail and leisure services and keeping in touch with family and friends.
“Despite a series of consultations with Durham County Council and Arriva it was not possible to persuade continuation of the 57/57A service for the reasons outlined in the response from Arriva. The response indicates a shortage of drivers that led to challenges with service reliability on some parts of their network since the start of the year. While understanding the reasons Arriva had given, I was very concerned about the overwhelming impact on my constituents and felt the only way to demonstrate how devastating these cuts are was to ask my constituents to complete the survey - sent our earlier this month - as we want to know where most critical missing routes are to encourage Durham County Council and local bus companies to focus correctly.
“I wish to thank all the constituents who have responded to this survey so far and I will be sharing the results of the survey with local organisations, on social media and in the local press very soon. The responses to this survey will be very valuable as I continue to talk with the Local Transport Minister Richard Holden MP, Durham County Council and bus operators to get this vital service reinstated as soon as possible.”
The Rural Transport Survey for the Trimdons is still open and residents can take part in the survey via this link https://bit.ly/3AvKUKo
Response from Arriva
Arriva North East – Service 57/57A Statement
Arriva are aware of information being circulated including on social media, about the rationale for the changes to Services 57/57A in County Durham from 2 April 2023. Contrary to reports, these services not being withdrawn due to lack of funding.
Services 57 and 57A currently operate under a partial funding agreement between Arriva and Durham County Council. This agreement supports the services between Kelloe, Trimdon and Hartlepool and was due to come to its contractual end at the end of March 2023.
Regrettably, as with many industries we are suffering from a shortage of drivers, and this has led to challenges with service reliability on some parts of our network since the start of the year. As a responsible operator, we must address this by ensuring services match the available numbers of drivers. For this reason, earlier this year, Arriva advised Durham County Council of our intention not to bid to continue this arrangement beyond the end of the current contract. This notice was provided to permit Durham County Council the ability to find another operator to continue to provide service from the start of April.
Despite the funding still being available, we understand that it has not been possible to find an alternative operator. Arriva have therefore worked in partnership with Durham County Council to mitigate the impact of the changes as far as possible given the available number of drivers. As a result, Arriva have agreed to adopt on behalf of Durham County Council an extension of an existing service from Kelloe and Hartlepool, which will replace Service 57 in full, operating as new Service 58. Durham County Council have selected another operator for Service 59 between Kelloe, Trimdon and Hartlepool. We understand this is a temporary solution, until driver availability across the industry improves.
In the immediate short term, all applicable Arriva day, week, season products will be valid on Service 59. Any single journeys between Trimdon and Durham that require a connection to be made between Service 58 and 59 at Kelloe, can also be undertaken without additional cost by customers showing their single fare ticket to the driver as they board.
Arriva remain open to discussions with Durham County Council around any alternative options that may mitigate the impact of these changes.
Finally, we are also aware of a meeting planned at Trimdon Village Hall on the evening of 31 March. Regretfully, due to the short notice of a request, a representative from Arriva is unable to attend. This position was confirmed to Durham County Council on the same day the request was received (28th March).
We would appreciate if this statement could be shared with attendees.
Arriva North East & Yorkshire
Page added 16th May 2023